Governor of Rivers State Nyesom Wike has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for turning a new leaf in the conduct of Saturday’s rerun election in Etche/Omuma Federal and State constituencies.
Wike, who spoke on the development at a church service on Sunday, declared that for the first time, INEC had gotten it right in its conduct of elections in the state.
He said that by the singular act, he was giving the electoral body a thumbs up, adding that the election also witnessed minimal deployment of security agencies to enforce law and order during elections.
The election into the House of Representatives’ seat was won by Jerome Eke of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
INEC Returning Officer, Prof. Jeremiah Sola-Omotola, announced Eke as the winner of the contest at the commission’s office in Port Harcourt on Sunday.
He said that Eke secured 15,221 votes to defeat Ogbonna Nwuke of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who got 6,220 votes.
The PDP also won the Etche State Constituency II election with 4,162 votes while the APC garnered 1,618 votes.
The state chapter of the PDP hailed the people of Etche and Omuma for voting for the party during the elections.
Its Chairman, Mr. Felix Obuah, who congratulated the people on Sunday, said even in the face of harassment, intimidation, attacks, maiming and alleged arrests of innocent PDP members by men of the Nigerian Army and the Police, Etche/Omuma people still voted for their chosen leaders
He described the involvement of the military and men of the Nigeria Police in electoral process as “worrisome, condemnable and portends great danger for Nigeria’s democracy.”
The PDP regretted that soldiers and policemen deployed to maintain peace and security in Etche allegedly invaded collation centres to stop the announcement of results but were resisted by the people.
Obuah said: “We congratulate candidates of the PDP, Chief Jerome Eke, Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency and Hon. Tony Ejiogu, Etche State Constituency 2 for emerging victorious, and the good people of Etche/Omuma for voting for the PDP.”
However, PDP has described the arrest of its Publicity Secretary, Hon. Samuel Nwanosike, Hon. Rowland Sekibo and other chieftains of the party who were on a legal election duty as provocative, illegal, condemnable and acting on the order of a leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Meanwhile the APC has called on INEC not to contradict itself in announcing the results of Etche/Omuma elections.
The state APC Publicity Secretary, Chris Finebone, in a statement he issued on Sunday in Port Harcourt, said that the elections were formally declared inconclusive by the Returning Officers, Prof. Olatunbosun Odusanya and Prof. Omotola respectively, at Okehi on Saturday.
“They (Returning Officers) subsequently announced that the conclusion of the process will take place today (Sunday) or on Monday,” the statement said.
Finebone said that the party said was taken aback by signals indicating that Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu, the National Electoral Commissioner in charge of Rivers, ordered that the results of the inconclusive elections should be announced.
He reminded INEC that in line with the relevant sections of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), only the returning Officers were empowered to announce results of elections.